We all know about our five senses: tasting, smelling, hearing, touching, and seeing. In addition to these, we also have proprioception and vestibular senses.

These are internal senses that tell us where our bodies are and when we are moving. As infants, we learn about our environment through all of these senses. Integration, or “making sense,” of everything we experience is a complicated neurological process that involves both the central and peripheral nervous systems. We call Sensory Integration Dysfunction when children have developmental delays in utilizing their senses. Sensory Integration Dysfunction may present as behavioral problems, learning disabilities, clumsiness, and/or hypo- or hyperactivity. Children who are overly shy may also have sensory delays.

If you suspect that your child may have Sensory Integration Dysfunction, it is advisable to have a specially trained clinician observe your child and assess him/her using the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test.

Sensory Integration treatment is based on the body of work developed by A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR in the 1950s and 1960s. Research has found that poor sensory processing and motor planning disorders interfere with daily life function and learning. Treatment attempts to utilize a variety of sensory input to re-organize the neurological system to improve daily life.

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